The Tunisian national team revived their chances of qualifying for the second round of the Youth World Cup hosted by Argentina, as they were one step away from qualifying for the first time in the history of his participation in the competition.
Ahead of their third and final first-round game against the Uruguay national team on Sunday, in which they need a draw at worst to advance to the second round, the ‘Eagles of Carthage’ swept the Iraqi national team 3-0.
Al-Nafati praised “the players’ performance and their unbridled desire to win, and their strong reaction in the second half to emerge with a historic and brilliant victory, and with a result that opens the doors of qualification for the second round”. ”
The assistant coach said in statements to the official website of the Tunisian Football Federation after the end of the game: “The Iraqi national team was better in the first half and managed to impose its control over the flow of the match. , but our defense has been vigilant.”
He continued: “As for the second half, we appeared with a different and distinguished face, and confirmed our preparation in terms of performance and result. This victory is very important for us to approach the game. of Uruguay with high morale in order to qualify for the second round.”
Al-Nafati said: “The match against Uruguay will be difficult, and all the players need to show determination and drive with the same performance they showed in the second half of the match against Iraq, to achieve the desired goal, which is to snatch the second-round ticket.”
Tunisia’s victory over Iraq in the only Arab confrontation in the current version of the World Cup for less than 20 years is the biggest in the history of Tunisia’s participation in the World Cup finals all categories and classes combined, Tunisia having never won a victory with 3 net goals in all their appearances in the World Cup.
Note that the Tunisian national team quickly made up for its disappointing debut and its first defeat against England with an unanswered goal, to revive its chances of qualification after a convincing hat-trick against the “Mesopotamia Lions”.
Tunisia scored against Iraq’s Youssef Senana in the 55th minute before Shem El Jebali added the second goal in the 57th minute, while Mahmoud Ghorbal managed to score the third goal from the penalty spot in the 87th minute.
Senana said: “All the players played amazingly and were determined to honor Tunisian football at the World Cup. We went through difficult periods, but we were able to take advantage of periods of control to score.”
Regarding his magnificent goal with the heels in the style of Algerian legend Rabeh Madjer, who opened the scoring against Iraq, Senana stressed that “luck and luck were on his side to score a goal that will remain in his memory. “. It is the result of a collective effort of all the players”, as he puts it.
History is written
The Tunisian youth team’s victory over Iraq is its first in 45 years, when the Carthage Eagles claimed their only victory in the Youth World Cups at the expense of Spain, in the first edition organized by Tunisia in 1977. On the other hand, the result of Tunisian football was disappointing in its second participation in the Under-20 World Cup, in the Russian version in 1985, where the national team suffered three defeats in 3 matches. In their eighth game at the U-20 World Cup, the Tunisian national team scored more than one goal in a single game, for the first time since appearing in the history of the competition. The Tunisian national team have never made it past the first round of the Youth World Cup, but on Sunday they will have a historic opportunity to pull off an unprecedented footballing feat against Uruguay, where they need a game draw to qualify for the second. round for the first time. The first and second teams in each group advance to the second round, along with the top four third-placed teams.
Former Tunisian national team striker Sami Al-Arousi revealed: “The strong determination shown by the national team against Iraq and its high morale were its most important weapon in achieving a historic victory, which will open the doors to qualifying for the second round, provided it is realistic against Uruguay.”
And he continued, in an interview with ‘Sky News Arabia’: “The attacking efficiency in the second half and the speed of the rise from defense to attack were decisive in coming out on top.”
He added: “The national team have made up for the mistakes they made against England, but the most important thing is to prepare well for the match against Uruguay, which is very different from facing Iraq. , because it will be difficult and decisive.”
In recent months, Tunisian football has seen disappointments and frustrating results, whether for national teams or clubs. After Tunisia’s exit from the first round of the Qatar 2022 World Cup, all Tunisian clubs have made their farewell to African competitions, with the exit of CAF, Sfaxien and Ittihad Monastir from the Confederation Cup, before the resounding exclusion of Espérance de Tunis from the Confederation Cup of the Champions League Africa, after losing to Al-Ahly of Egypt.
Note that Arab football is represented at the World Juniors by the teams of Tunisia and Iraq, and the latter has lost all hope of reaching the second round, regardless of the result of its confrontation with its English counterpart on Sunday. evening, after two defeats against Uruguay, 0-4, then against Tunisia.
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